Christchurch-based husband and wife Jason Koster and Moira de Villiers have been selected for their second Commonwealth Games.
De Villiers is headed to the Birmingham Games – which runs from July 28 to August 8 – in second place in the Commonwealth and is in hot form, having played in the opening ceremonies in Tunisia and Algiers earlier this year win gold.
She won a silver medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 17th at the 2012 London Olympics.
Koster also returned from Glasgow in 2014, where he won bronze in the under 100kg category.
“It’s a dream come true,” De Villiers said.
“After having a daughter four years ago, returning to the Commonwealth Games is a real goal and this time I have my sights set on gold.”
She said it would be very special to share the experience with her husband.
“We’ve been on this journey together for a long time, and it’s been amazing to have my husband and coach by my side.”
Coster made his New Zealand debut at 17 and will head to Birmingham at 39.
“The past 10 years have been very fulfilling, and I’m ready to finish what we started and fight for gold. Doing this with my wife is so special, I couldn’t ask for a better partner, and I couldn’t wait Birmingham 2022,” Coster said.
Coster will be popular in Birmingham, where he also coaches de Villiers, Hayley Mackey (women’s U78kg) and Elliott Connolly (men’s U81kg) and Kody Andrews (men’s +100kg) at Premiere Equipe Judo Club in Christchurch ) coach.
“It’s fantastic to be able to put together a team, we only started this club four years ago and now it’s fantastic that the five of us are going to Birmingham, I don’t think I could have written a better ending for my career. “
Commonwealth Games newcomers Qona Christie, Mackey and Sydnee Andrews take the women’s team to the next level.
Christie, 23, from Wellington, won gold at this year’s Sydney International Open, while the youngest member, 19-year-old Sydney Andrews from Gisborne, won bronze at the Prague Open in early 2022.
In the men’s division, Coster was joined by first-time Commonwealth Games athletes Connolly and Cody Andrews.
Connolly, 28, has just returned to New Zealand after training and honing his skills in France, where judo is very popular.
Cody Andrews, 21, from Christchurch, recently returned to international competition, finishing 7th at the recent Tunis Open, Algiers Open and Pan Am/Oceania Championships.
“It means a lot to me, I’ve been playing sports my whole life, representing my country, and it’s amazing. It’s a moment I’ll cherish forever,” Cody said.
Birmingham will be the first time a judo player has taken part in the New Zealand Games team since the Rio 2016 Olympics, with judo dropping out of the sport at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Athletes will train in New Zealand, Australia and Europe ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand Judo president Derek Maggs said he was delighted that seven athletes had been confirmed for the Olympics.
“This team is made up of seasoned fighters and young athletes who have made a breakthrough in their first major fight. We look forward to them doing well and winning some medals for New Zealand.”
The naming brings the total number of athletes currently selected for the Birmingham New Zealand team to 32.